- By Bonnie Williamson
Hula hoops have been around for centuries. Yes, those plastic hoops that can be twirled around the waist, neck, or limbs have been part of the world's culture since about 500 B.C. They were traditionally made from willow, rattan, grapevines, and stiff grasses. Fast forward a bit: the lovable rings officially gained international popularity in the late 1950s, when a California company called Wham-O made the hoops out of Marlex plastic. You could say the idea caught on; the company sold more than twenty-five million hoops in less than four months.